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aapchad

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  1. aapchad

    Trendmaker

    An update to my posting a year ago when we had a home inspector review our Trendmaker home. We are now seeing some signs of problems with our upstairs flooring. We have two places in two different bathrooms where the tile has cracked in a straight line over three or more tiles. It seems the joist is pressing on the plywood decking creating a high spot in the floor that eventually cracked the tile. Given the weather, we're going to wait until the fall to fix this problem. Its not really noticeable cosmetically since the tile looks like multi-colored marble. We're more worried about being able to find the tile for the repair. We don't see any bottom floor foundation issues yet, but I think we are seeing the settling of the house after two years of living. We hope we won't have other issues. We are keeping the foundation watered and have a sprinkler system, so there isn't much more we can do. The only other issue we have had is that we had to reinforce our back fence, which backs up the levy. Our lot had been "built-up" by a couple of feet and the dirt only extened a few inches beyond our property line before dropping down about 8 inches to the levy floor. As a result, there wasn't much support for the fence posts and we got a lot of leaning in the fence line. We have an unusually large lot, and our back fence is 179 feet long. We paid 1k to get additional posts put in three feet deep and the fence was corrected. Hurricane Ike didn't damage the fence while neighbors and others on the levy had downed fences. The other comment i'd say about Trendmaker fences is that their sub builds a pretty crappy fence overall. WHile the posts are now stable, we'll end up replacing the fence boards in about another year. They are splitting, they weren't attached well, etc. So, I'd suggest that if your lot is built up by adding soil to it, make sure the fence posts go down an extra foot to maintain their stability.
  2. I have been waiting and hoping for AT&T to come to Sugar Land zip code 77479 and offer U-verse and their other fiber optic technologies to compete against Comcast and Entouch. Living in Telfair most of us signed up for Entouch, but the cost is high. Its the "preferred provider" for the 'hood. We wouldn't consider Comcast after being former Time Warner customers and we don't want satellite (had it twice with different providers). I know that pockets of SL and in this area code have AT&T service. I've seen postings that Greatwood has AT&T and U-verse. When I called recently to inquire, I was told that AT&T couldn't get access rights to many areas of SL. That they were effectively blocked from providing any service. Apparently they could offer hard line telephone service, but nothing more. I asked for more information but the rep just said "keep checking back with us" and disconnected. I've found nothing on any SL website, either for the city or county that talks about this issue. Does anyone understand or know about the rules surrounding how different service providers can offer their services in SL? Is it something where the folks who originally installed the infrastructure get to keep out other providers for set period of time? Infrastructure companies often get fees from any service providers that use their infrastructure, so I don't see this as an issue (but probably wrong). Is it due to other factors? I'm at a complete loss, so someone who knows about SL/FB government, telecom services and telecome industry issues would be welcome to help educate me and probably a lot of others.
  3. Would you rather move to an area where its easy to move into? I.e. there is so much inventory that its caused by factors that many found objectionable and therefore put their homes up for sale? The lack of homes in your price range is a sign that many people like to live here for a variety of reasons. The government is competent, things work, the area is clean, crime is low, there are lots of amenities and we're not in Houston! I'd suggest you look at some of the older First Colony homes and think about renovating them. My brother in law did this and his house is very nice and the price was well below what new homes cost. I live in Telfair and I think New Territories is great too. Love the older trees and the homes are well kept. A lot of people in NT sold to buy into Telfair. I run into them all the time.
  4. Well my wife is liberal and I'm moderate. When we lived in the Heights for five years, we found the area to be much more liberal than the suburbs, but less liberal than Montrose or Midtown where we also lived.
  5. I have lived all over Houston. Different stages of life really drive what part of town is best for you. When I was young, it was the Galleria area, then later Midtown and then the Heights. Now I'm in Sugar Land in a MPC. I love it here. I have a lot of postings on Telfair, where I live, in the section of this forum that deals with Sugar Land.
  6. Most warranties have so many restrictions and exceptions that they rarely pay off. However, for those that get circumstances where they do pay out, its a blessing. I think most people have a better chance of seeing Bigfoot than having a claim paid off by one of these warranties.
  7. This is an acreage home based residential neighborhood. It is a bit remote, well off the major highway in the area. To enter the neighborhood, you must go over some railroad tracks. The railroad is very active, so unless you love trains, think about it. My wife and I flirted with this neighborhood for several months but couldn't pull the trigger and ended up in Telfair. The issue I have with these types of neighborhood is 1) no curbs on streets, 2) drainage swales/ditches alongside streets, 3) tends to attract folks with lots of stuff (cars, boats, motorcycles, etc), 4) very wide open so there are few fences and so everyone's yard becomes part of your vision everyday. The biggest issue was school districts. We were not convinced that Lamar Consolidated is comparable to Fort Bend ISD. However, the houses are really pretty and if you love land above all else, its a good choice. Lots of room to spread out. At the end of the day, its all personal preference. I'm sure many folks that live there probably think my choice, Telfair, is horrible for different reasons. Alan
  8. As most folks who buy a new home or even a used home in an established neighborhood, it is fairly rare to find backyards that are landscaped professionally either by the builder or by the owner. So many times when my wife and I were looking at homes, its was always a bit depressing to see nothing but grass and a nondescript fence. I've also had the experience of trying to get a landscaper (those with college degrees and certifications) to do work at my various residences. Unless I was willing to shell out $10k or more, most were not interested. In fact, most were downright rude. I wanted to participate in the process and/or do things in stages. None of these were acceptable to the vast majority of firms, many well known and some sole proprietorships. However, recently Enchanted Forest of Richmond, Texas worked with me on a design for my backyard. They provided the drawings and plant materials listings and an irrigation plan. All for about $350. I was thrilled and the plans were first rate. The only other firm willing to this kind of work was Teas' in Bellaire, but the fee was closer to $850. They even charged me $50 just to talk to me at my house. I can now install my beds and plants at my pace and under my budget, which makes me far happier than just walking out to a yard that 20 men put together in one day. I love both locations for Enchanted Forest (the other is called Enchanted Gardens) and they compare to my former favorite garden center, Buchannan's in the Heights (where I lived a few blocks away). Anyway, while most postings on this board are about buildings, the landscape that goes around them is what really makes the house or building complete. I thought I'd share my experience with others since I'm sure folks would like to have professional plans to follow as they work on their yards.
  9. I still believe the old addage about real estate applies in most cases..."location, location, location." I choose Telfair to have a much shorter commute to major freeways and highways (90 and 59). Others may value different amenities. Both are highly diverse in terms of cultures, languages and ethnicities. That for some is a selling point, for others it might not be. It was for us. Telfair has a more natural feel to its lakes and common areas; RS has highly manicured lawns that go right up to the edge of the water that also has numerous fountains. Telfair is promising areas for development of restaurants and light retail. The high concentration of retail on HW 6 does this for RS residents, so I doubt that will be something that will happen there. I don't know this for certain but I think RS is in Missouri City city limits, so that might be something to consider as well. I think the best time to evaluate residential areas is from about 6pm to 8pm during the work week. You'll get to see what kind of activites are going on, if neighbors talk and interact, etc. Bear in mind a couple of things...both developments have a 0.25% of 1% charge on the sales price of your home that goes to the homeowners association. It was explained to us that the builders paid this on our home when we bought it. If we ever decided to sell, then it would be negotiated with the buyer. It funds the neighborhood association in large part, although Telfair also charges $650 a year in additional charges. In Telfair, while there is going to be the Natural Science museum location, the primary amemities location (largest pool, tennis courts, club house, ball fields) is now a year overdue. Streets are being worked on and a new fire house is supposed to be built soon. All of these could be seen both as an irritant or a feature. Utlimately the only one who can decide is you. I think you'll be pleased no matter which one you pick.
  10. The subdivision is named for one of the public park/squares in Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is considered one of the best designed cities in the world because of its devotion to lots of public green space. There is no mistake why the developer chose the name.
  11. aapchad

    Trendmaker

    As I promised, we had our home inspected last week by a local Katy inspector. He spent about three hours here and then walked us through the results. Here is what he found: The faux stone facade doesn't seem to have a drainage plane where water can sheet off the house. We're discussing this with the builder now. Danger is that water could penetrate behind the stone (because no one fully mortars every crack and crevise). If this is a problem, then practically every house in Telfair and in other new neighborhoods will have the same issue. Found one area on a top gable where there was some old water staining. Builder is sending a crew to climb up on the roof and inspect. Our builder's rep felt the stain was old b/c as he put it, with all of the recent rains, if it was an ongoing problem, we'd see more staining, more water problems. Some minor electrical switches needed "switching" where there would be consistency between where the lights, ceiling fan, etc. switches were located. Made a comment that the electrical box, while it passed City inspection, could have been done neater and used special straps. Said that my builder was no different than every other builder in that respect...says its on practically every report he write. Everything else was minor - adjust a door here, a couple of nail pops, move some dirt from around the foundation. All in all, there wasn't much. He was complimentary to the builder but not in an over the top way. TM asked for a copy of the inspection, which we provided. So, now the ball is in the builder's court. They have crews coming to address the issues. We're still pleased with how they handle our concerns.
  12. aapchad

    Trendmaker

    Its part of the service TM offers to home buyers. One scan shortly before move in and another scan 8-11 months later. On the first scan, we got a picture of our house from the front using the infrared camera. According to the guy we had, if i was paying customer, its about $200. Takes about 30 minutes to an hour, then you get a certificate afterwards in the mail. They are trying, without much success, to get the insurance industry to consider such certificates when rating a house for homeowners insurance. Given that it can detect leaking pipes, poor insulation and some building faults, it might stand to reason that insurers would go for it. Apparently though, there is a long line of other businesses/products also hankering for such a blessing from the insurers because it would lead to significant business.
  13. I thought I read in the Fort Bend Thursday supplemental section in the Chronicle that the prisons in Fort Bend were being reviewed/assessed for their "best and highest" use, which is a code language for "we want them the hell out of the way." I suspect the big developer money is talking loudly and calling for many of the units to be moved west away from most of the new development. The item in the paper specifically mentioned that the Sugar Land Regional Airport wanted the land next to it that is presently occupied by the prison. When we bought in Telfair we weren't fully aware of the long term plans for the airport, but I have heard people "theorizing" that SL leaders want a larger airport where regional jets could land, making SL a much more inviting corporate HQ type area. Then again, I've also heard that FedEx is looking for a hub in the area where they could land jets without being tied up at Intercontinental. I doubt the latter, but suspect the former to be at least partially true.
  14. aapchad

    Trendmaker

    No I had not seen or known about this lady protesting TM. It is not surprising that some people are disappointed with their homes. Having built three new homes in my life, each of a different style and size, I can attest to how emotionally involving it can become. Some people just get disappointed no matter how their house turns out. Often new homes are viewed as "new beginnings" but people drag their old problems and attitudes with their furniture into their new homes, so I've heard many times of people being unhappy that the neighborhood is different than they had hoped/dreamed, etc. For us, TM was open and approachable throughout the process. I had some complaints during framing and roofing that were addressed to my satisfaction. I made multiple visits to the Design Center to go over issues I had with my own design choices and with issues the builder raised too. We worked it out together. I got two inspections with the builder's representative and made several lists of things we didn't like. Everything got fixed before we moved in. Our builder, sales person and two subs also visited us the first few weeks to check on us. Our custom builders never did that. To me custom builders are mostly swine. As we lived here, we did see things that we missed the first time around. That was true of the other houses we built too. We've had two warranty calls covering about 12 items and TM handled everything. We did repair some tile after we had to replace the dishwasher. TM handled it and now you cannot tell anything ever was wrong. We just had our second infrared scan of our house and the inspector found no faults. I got to watch him the whole time and he explained very carefully how the inspection looked for leaky pipes, poor insulation jobs, air duct problems, etc. He found nada that made him concerned. We will be having a Fox Inspection person come out in February to do a final full inspection before our one year anniversary comes around. We'll post how that turns out to be fair to anyone looking at TM as a builder. While I can empathise with many people over disappointments, I cannot fault TM in my case b/c they've been above board, responsive and timely in making me happy. Normally small problems/defects drive my wife to distraction, but she is so happy with this house. She talks about it all the time. I just wish I had done a few more small options, but that's another story and nothing bad about TM.
  15. Yes, two oak trees, normally the live oak variety, are planted in each front yard. Sometimes this is a bit absurd, particularly on lots like my own where I am on the radius of a U shaped street. The lots on such radii tend to pie shaped, with small front yards and large back yards. So I have two live oaks, planted no more than 10 feet apart in the front yard. As for the HOA restrictions, there are many on the type of front yard plantings. In a nutshell, the place is supposed to be like Savannah, Georgia or a similar type Atlantic Ocean facing old South city. So anything southwestern, like cactus or other succulents are a no-no in the front yard. I'm a big gardener myself but there were plenty of plants on their list that were acceptable to me. I also have a Drake Elm in my side yard. So its not ALL oak trees. Magnolias are found in lots of front yards, but not as the focal point tree. Those are always the oaks. I see cypress, magnolias, japanese blue berries, crape myrtles, bottle brush trees, fruit trees etc. If you want, send me a message and I'll link a copy of the HOA to you.
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